Many of you who follow Ideia de Impacto social networks know, I’ve been on vacation for 40 days in Spain. A time to rest and recharge my batteries after a 3 year period without vocations.
But during my holidays I have shared with you interesting and innovative things that I found. For those who did not see the posts yet follow the IG @ideiadeimpact page and there is a highlights for Spain there.
This trip was also a pilot for the MUNDO AFORA PROJECT (Throughout World Project), in fact a should say more a “teaser” of this project and special serie for my radio show at Rádio Geek. That’s because I shared a few moments, stories and, when MUNDO AFORA project start more information, interviews, content, stories will be shared – if you want to know more about the project clink https://www.powtoon.com/online-presentation/ey6Jk1E3IMk/projeto-mundo-a-fora/?mode=movie for a short film link is h
RELEVANT TOPICS IN SPAIN
But let’s get down to business! First it is important to say that I went to different regions of the country. They are very different from each other, culturaly and socialeconomic speaking. I have traveled to Madrid, Andalucia, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Navarre.
Looking at the initiatives and projects that I found, the themes that stood out the most were the following:
MOBILITY: by far the theme with more initiatives and actions that I found. From the integration of different modes of transport (connecting buses, trains, subways, cars, bikes, scooters and scooters) to very cool things I’ve seen in different cities. In Madrid the buses share information on the TV about next stop and connections with other transport systems. It is also possible to use shared electric scooters that are scattered around the city for everyone to use (provided that with proper clearance, of course). Electric kick scooters are a fever everywhere in Spain! Both shared and private ones. Nobody wears a helmet and people can carry them in bars, restaurants, train stations, buses. Coexistence between bikes, scooters, cars and motorcycles is not a problem: in the streets, the lanes of each one are marked (the same lanes allows car and bike for example), as well as the cycle lanes that are used by bikes and scooters only have a bike international symbol painted from time to time or a band showing the boundary with the sidewalk and pedestrians. Pedestrians and bikes signs are everywhere and traffic lights and perfect sidewalks that allows people coexist with electric trolleys, kick scooters or wheelchairs at the sametime. In Bilbao I saw electric charging points for cars and motorbikes on the sidewalk, as well as shopping centers. The awareness and responsibility of the people in the traffic is to call attention and allows this peaceful coexistence between all.
WASTE MANAGEMENT: all the cities where I have visited, from north to south, have selective collection. Even in small towns. Containers are placed for the separation of each type of waste and in some cases, like Pamplona, there are containers for composting materials and the aduba is then collected by the population and used. Another cool thing are containers for collecting used oil. In some places the containers are large and in others smaller with underground storage (especially in areas where streets and sidewalks are narrow or steep). And the distribution of them through the city is so great that the house where the train station was was 15 min walk and I found in this route more than 10 “sets” of containers installed. The truck passes to collect the waste daily.
WATER: Water management is an important issue with drought resulting from low rainfall and climatic events. I have seen discussions about the recovery of rivers (not due to pollution, but to try to solve the low water level), eighteenth century public well, showing that drought is not a recent problem, actions for recovery of margin forests along rivers contributors to reduce erosion and improve retention of rainwater. Another concern – in the region of the Pyrenees or Catalonia – is the loss of snow accumulated in the mountains and, due to climate event, have lost its volumes and reduce their contribution to the supply for river springs. Speaking of which, all the rivers of the cities were absolutely clean and being used by the population for leisure, swimming, rowing, apart from quality of life improvement in general.
LOCAL PRODUCTION & FOOD: Spanish with whom I have met are increasingly are concerned and consuming local products and food. Local production and food are easier in small and medium-sized cities comparting to cities like Madrid or Barcelona. But “hertas” (orchards) exist in many places. This consumption is valued and practiced daily and respects even the seasonality of vegetables, plants, fruits and leaves available in each region. I also find it very cool to find allergenic codes present in each food or dish in the supermarkets and in restaurant menus. Another discussion regarding food was the approval of European Union regulations to limit the percentage of use of transgenic fats in food.
DIVERSITY: Advertisements, information, government structures supporting and informing people about diversity issues, feminicide, violence against women, immigration, LGBTQIfobia. Just as in Brazil, the clash between conservative and progressive positions is going very well in Spain, unfortunately with racist, macho, LGBTQI phobic and xenophobic words, actions and attacks very present at that moment in Spain. But in general Spanish society supports affirmative action, legislation, information sharing and also teaching these subjects in schools.
INNOVATION AND IMPACT: Spain has a low investment in innovation compared to other countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden or USA. It invests around 1.5% of GDP, which is 50% of what these leading countries have invested in innovation in relation to their GDP. There are investments and credit lines for SMEs, entrepreneurs and startups, as well as there is also an important ecosystem of hubs, incubators and accelerators. Public support, however, is far below what is expected of a developed country and this is a direct reflection of the cutting policies determined by the European Union after the economic crisis.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: As in Brazil, the crisis has led companies and governments and especially people to think about starting their own business, being an entrepreneur or creating their startup. Many thought and saw this movement with “salvation” for the crisis that plagues the country. This was also convenient, to a certain extent, for companies and governments that presented this movement or wave with a way out of unemployment (which still reaches 14.7% of Spaniards, and for comparison purposes, unemployment in Brazil is 12, 4% reaching 13.1 million people). This entrepreneurial fever has declined in recent years, just as many people believe that this decline will also roll with the ecosystem and its incubators, accelerators and startups.
REGULATION & INVESTMENTS: The regulation of a law that deals with a legal framework of startups and impact entrepreneurship is a pending issue in Spain. For the time being there is a “cradle cats” mixing all kinds of organization under the name “social economy”, which includes NGOs, cooperatives, foundations, impact businesses. Brazil is also discussing the issue through a public consultation. Nevertheless, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) regulated the creation of investment funds for impact or social entrepreneurship (which, according to some experts, was a reflection of Brussels’ pressure) . As in Brazil, there is a difficulty in aligning the expectations of financial return and profit generation of the investors by placing their money in these companies (impact businesses, startups, etc.) and this, both for deadlines and for amount invested. The result is a lot of money in the market, but not all players in the innovation and impact ecosystem have been able to access these funds or investors – the first fund approved by the CNMV, for example, has supported 14 startups over the last 10 years.
CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
From an overview, the strengths and challenges in the current Spanish context are as follows:
1) Growth and strengthening innovation and impact ecosystem that places Barcelona and Madrid among the 10 most innovative cities in Europe,
2) More and more events, congresses and meetings take place in Spain to address these issues, including specific niches (entrepreneurs 30 years, women entrepreneurs, etc),
3) There are universities and study centers focused and interested in training and producing knowledge and research related to these subjects and topics,
4) There are investors and funds interested in financing companies and startups, even in their early business phases.
1) The regulation and recognition of business and innovation and impact businesses needs to be addressed and resolved,
2) Create a standard and implement a system for measuring and demonstrating the impact of the ecosystem and its stakeholders,
3) Attract and maintain talents and capabilities needed for innovation and business impact in Spain
4) Take the culture of innovation and the generation of impact are still part of elites classes. These themes should reach all Spanish profiles and social strata, regardless of their social, economic and educational level. Only then will the ecosystem be representative and able to respond and find solutions to the problems and challenges of Spanish society as a whole.
I close this Spanish overview and by the beginning of August I will publish an infographic bringing data, numbers and information as well as links to access reports and documents with more detailed information for you.
The next stop is MUNDO AFORA PROJECT will be in Peru! First Latin American country to visit and which I will visit for the first time. I have already made contact with some organizations and projects, but IF YOU HAVE ANY CONTACT IN PERU any help, support and guidance is most welcome!